Scotland captain Rachel Corsie returned to America yesterday proud not just to have achieved a personal milestone, but to have overseen one of the greatest comebacks in Scottish footballing history.
With just 12 minutes remaining at Kielce Stadium in Poland on Tuesday, Corsie was not reflecting on the curtain which was about to fall on her 100th Scotland game. Instead, and with her side having earlier conceded two dreadful goals, elimination from World Cup qualifying was staring the Utah Royals central defender and her national team-mates in the face.
All that started to change after Kim Little, rather fortuitously, scored direct from a free-kick. When that was followed by two well-worked goals, the first for Jane Ross and what proved to be a 90th-minute winner for Lisa Evans, Scotland departed the quirky Polish town as 3-2 winners.
“We’re now down to the last two games and we are in a position where we can still win the group,” said Corsie, pictured. “It’s still going to be tough, but this is where we wanted to be.
“We were trying to remember in the dressing room if there had ever been a comeback to equal that one. What I do think is there hasn’t been one which is going to be as important – or one against as good a team as Poland. They are one of the best of the third seeds.”
With Switzerland and Scotland now having just two games each to play in Group 2, and just one automatic place in the finals on offer, the qualifying situation is clear cut. The top seeds, who beat Belarus 5-0 away on Tuesday, are the leaders with maximum points from six games. Scotland have 15, having lost 1-0 to the Swiss in Schaffhausen two months ago. That means Corsie’s side now have to win by two goals or more in the return game, which will almost certainly be in Paisley, on 30 August.
If they do, and go on to beat Albania away in their final game five days later, they will qualify for their first-ever World Cup as Group 2 winners regardless of how Switzerland fare in a potentially difficult last game in Poland.
Different results could also put Scotland in a four nation play-off for the final European place in France. As things stand European champions Holland, England and even Germany could end up in the play-offs.
Corsie, 28, added:“I’m really proud to have got to the 100-game milestone and I don’t feel like I’m finished yet. That was probably the most memorable game I’ve ever played in, but hopefully there are more to come.”